Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jason Becker - Discography

Jason Becker. Born July 22, 1969, a neo-classical guitarist who achieved fame at age 16 as a technical virtuoso and guitar prodigy. When his father gave him a guitar, he wouldn't let go of it. He studied the works of violinist Niccolò Paganini and was a playing partner with Marty Friedman. He later arranged Paganini's 5th Caprice, performing it during an instructional guitar video. Becker's compositions often include high speed scalar and arpeggio passages, both of which are trademarks of his 'shred' style of guitar playing. He demonstrated the arpeggio sequence during a clinic at the Atlanta Institute of Music. A video of this performance first appeared on his Hot Licks guitar instructional video.

Becker started out playing alongside Marty Friedman in the Mike Varney produced-duo, Cacophony. Becker and Friedman toured together with Cacophony in Japan and across the United States.

At the age of 20, he joined David Lee Roth's band, replacing Steve Vai, who went on to join Whitesnake. While recording the A Little Ain't Enough album in 1989, and preparing for the subsequent tour, Becker began to feel what he called a "lazy limp" on his left leg. He was soon diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and given three to five years to live. He could barely finish the recording, using low-gauge (thin) guitar strings and other techniques, which would make it easier to play with his weakening hands. Although he managed to finish the album, which got released in 1991, he did not join the supporting tour due to his inability to perform on stage; former Lizzy Borden guitarist Joe Holmes took Becker's place on tour.

Due to his illness, he eventually lost the ability to speak and now communicates with his eyes via a system developed by his father. Although his ALS gradually robbed him of his ability to play guitar, to walk, and eventually even to speak, he still remains mentally sharp and, with the aid of a computer, continues composing. In the back of the Perspective CD case, Becker states "I have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It has crippled my body and speech, but not my mind." Now in his late 30s, his medical condition has remained stable since 1997. In 2003, Jason posted on his website that he was feeling better and had gained some weight, while the folder for his 2008 album Collection also mentions an upcoming book.

Jason Becker - Perpetual Burn (1988)
Perpetual Burn features blistering fretwork from Jason Becker, an album that set a new standard for progressive heavy metal music. Including the always powerful Atma Anur on drums and some wicked guest guitar solos from label mate Marty Friedman, Perpetual Burn embodies brilliant compositions featuring Becker's highly structured and complex guitar lines. "Air" contains some of the most beautiful playing you'll hear, as Becker uses a clean tone to express emotion on a song dedicated to his parents. A true metal/shred/progressive classic. Instrumental Guitar (Electric (Heavy)/Shred/Heavy Metal)

01 Altitudes
02 Perpetual Burn
03 Mabel’s Fatal Fable
04 Air
05 Temple of the Absurd
06 Eleven Blue Egyptians
07 Dweller in the Cellar
08 Opus Pocus

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Jason Becker - Perspective (1996)
Shred/neo-classical guitarist Jason Becker, stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 20, released his CD Perspective at age 25. Using a MIDI-based studio including a keyboard, Macintosh, sequencing software and an analog recording system, Becker has created his own system for making music via computer. “As my guitar playing dwindled, something else in my music got better,” stated Becker. “Many times in music, if you are given limitations, it expands the creativity.” Perspective features an impressive array of guest performers on the record including Michael Lee Firkins, Matt and Gregg Bissonette, Steve Hunter and Journey’s Steve Perry. Instrumental Guitar (Electric/Hard Rock/Classical), total running time, 60:48

01 Primal
02 Rain
03 End of the Beginning
04 Higher
05 Blue
06 Life and Death
07 Empire
08 Serrana
09 Meet Me in the morning

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Jason Becker - The Raspberry Jams (1999)
The Raspberry Jams are a collection of demos, songs and ideas on guitar from the archives of Jason Becker’s many tapes. In the words of Jason Becker himself, “The songs on The Raspberry Jams were all recorded so I wouldn’t forget them as possible songs for some CD. I never planned on releasing these versions, but as I listened to this stuff, I thought, ‘hey, it isn’t right to hide this neat music.’ So here you go. I hope you get as big of a rush listening to it as I do.” For a fascianting glimpse of immense talent in the rough and raw, check out the 25 raspberry jams contained on this CD. Instrumental Guitar (Electric (Heavy)/Shred/Heavy Metal), total running time, 61:02

01 Becker-Ola
02 Mandy’s Throbbing Little Heart
03 Amma
04 When You Wish Upon A Star
05 Jasin Street
06 Beatle Grubs
07 Grilled Peeps
08 If You Have To Shoot..Shoot-Don’t Talk
09 Purple Chewable Fern
10 Black Stallion Jam
11 Amarnath
12 Angel Eyes
13 Throat Hole
14 Dang Sea Of Samsara
15 Urmila
16 Thousand Million Suns
17 Clean Solo
18 Too Fast, No Good For You!
19 Sweet Baboon
20 Shock Tea
21 Ghost To The Post
22 Blood On The Traches
23 Oddly Enough
24 Crush
25 Vocal Silliness

Jason Becker - The Blackberry Jams (2003)
The Blackberry Jams is a collection of private recordings and previously unreleased demos from Jason Becker’s “Perpetual Burn” era that gives guitar fans insight into his private musical thoughts from the period.

In the words of Jason Becker himself, “These recordings were done between 1987 and 1988 and were recorded onto a Tascam four-track. They are very raw and rough because I never intended for anyone to hear them except for Mike Varney and Marty Friedman.

The Blackberry Jams includes different variations of parts from familiar songs, demos I did that became parts of songs that Marty Friedman and I wrote together. These demos were recorded as possible music for “Perpetual Burn”, “Go Off” and “Dragon’s Kiss”, Marty Friedman’s solo CD.” Instrumental Guitar (Electric (Heavy)/Shred/Heavy Metal), total running time, 73:58

01 Go Off! Intro
02 Groin-grabbingly Transcendent
03 Opitudes
04 Church Of The Weird
05 Mabel’s Air…Could It Be Any Faster?
06 Short X-Ray Eyes
07 Airage
08 Perpetual Burn
09 Ashram Of You, Lee
10 Images Intro
11 Mabel… Simple Little Nibbling
12 Jewel
13 Kind Of Like A Spring
14 Air
15 Ten Yellow Pointy Kitties
16 Absurd Temple Jig
17 Part Of Stranger
18 There’s That
19 Black Cat
20 Little Rippage
21 Perpetual Tudes
22 Floor Pie
23 El Beckero
24 Pocus I Say
25 Conglomeration… Boy Meets Guitar
26 Little Dweller
27 Jewel #2
28 Long X-Ray Eyes
29 Altitudes Jam
30 Bemesderfer’s Wooping Stick
31 If It Weren’t So Purdy I’d Call It Skin Flute

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Jason Becker - Collection (2008)
Guitarist Jason Becker (David Lee Roth, Cacophony) has just released “Collection” on Shrapnel Records. This pure work of genius contains three new recordings totaling over 20 minutes in length and includes new performances by some of Becker’s guitar buddies: Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Michael Lee Firkins, Marty Friedman, Steve Hunter and Greg Howe. In addition, the CD is enhanced and contains some bonus material playable on computer.

01 Rain
02 River of Longing
03 Images
04 Opus Pocus
05 Higher
06 It's Showtime!
07 Altitudes
08 End of the Beginning
09 River of Longing (Reprise)
10 Meet Me in the Morning
11 Air
12 Electric Prayer for Peace
13 Mandy's Throbbing Little Heart

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